Midfielder Josh McEachran joined City a week ago, arriving after the transfer deadline as a free agent, with the 26-year-old having a lot to prove as he aims to get his career back on track.
Coming through the youth ranks at Premier League side Chelsea, McEachran was seen as something of a prodigy, with hopes of him having a long and distinguished career at the top level in West London.
The midfielder, though, wouldn’t quite make the grade at the club and was moved on through various loan spells at the likes of Swansea City, Middlesborough, Watford, Vitesse and Wigan Athletic – making a limited impact at each before joining Brentford permanently in 2015.
Having been part of the England youth setups all the way through to Under-21 level, McEachran would go on to play nearly 100 games for the ‘Bees’ before being released in the close season.
So here we are now. A clearly talented yet nomadic Josh McEachran has arrived at the Blues, still waiting for a career that promised so much to ignite and really get going.
Why the midfielder has played less than 200 senior matches by the age of 26, especially having gone through his career largely injury-free so far, is somewhat of a mystery.
McEachran is very much a holding midfielder, though while his technical abilities and passing are a strength, it’s questionable whether he has the right physique, tenacity and ability to read the game from a defensive perspective to play this role consistently.
Could this be the reason he’s been frozen out at so many clubs? Perhaps McEachran has been found wanting mentally or in terms of his attitude. Maybe the midfielder doesn’t follow managerial and tactical instructions properly or perhaps there’s been an inability or unwillingness to adapt his game to the needs of his team(s) previously.
There’s a multitude of possible reasons as to why Josh McEachran’s career to date has failed to sparkle as it might and Pep Clotet’s decision to hand him a two-year deal with the Blues is a somewhat risky one.
However, if the coaching staff can unlock some of the undoubted abilities of the midfielder and bring out the best in him – the decision could also prove an inspired one.